A couple of weeks ago, I received the first portion of my proposed unRAID hardware refresh project – the SuperMicro SAS/SATA card and cables. Last week, I ordered a new case and internal USB header adapter for the flash drive. Those are scheduled to arrive this Thursday. Thanks to some more advertising opportunities, I was able to finish off the hardware purchases and get the core components this morning.
First off, the case I decided to go with was the Norco RPC-470. It’s a nice 4U rackmount unit that should allow me to add both of my hotswap drive cages, while still offering room for a third, if needed. It’s very similar to what I’m using now to house my core components, but it only allows for a single drive cage.
I also purchased a Koutech USB 2.0 header adapter. I currently route my flash drive internally via a rear PCI slot, but this little gadget is much neater.
Fore the core components, I’ll be replacing the motherboard, CPU, and memory. I’ll retain my drives and PSU. I will eventually replace the PSU, but it’s still a good unit and I ran out of cash. I opted to stick with the Intel-branded workstation motherboard. The one I have now has been flawless in 5 years and the integrated Intel NIC is second to none. I chose an Intel BOXDH61BEB3 micro ATX board this time. It has 6 SATA ports, USB 3.0, and a host of other features that carry it further than my current board. The SuperMicro SAS adapter will occupy the PCI-e x16 slot, but I have a couple of x1 slots for further expansion later on if I need it. Those will be fine for cheaper Silicon Image-based controllers that I already have. I doubt I’ll need them since – 14 available ports should do just fine with the drives now into the 3TB+ range.
For a CPU I went budget again, but it’s still a huge boost in power over my current Celeron 430 (single-core 1.8GHz). I opted for the Intel Celeron G540. This is a Sandy Bridge dual-core 2.4GHz, so I have my video subsystem included, as well. I don’t really do anything CPU-intensive on my unRAID server, but at only 65W, it’s a monstrous budget upgrade over my present solution. Unfortunately, it’s an increase in 30W over the low-power 35W Conroe 430. Oh well…
For memory, I just went with what was cheapest, but it also turned out to be reliable Kingston-branded memory. I maxed the supported amount of the board and got 2x4GB 1333MHz PC10600 DDR3, for 8GB total. It’s more than I’ve ever had in my current system, so it will be fine for this one.